Posts Tagged "housekeeping"

“Just in Case” Conversations

Posted by on Jun 26, 2021 in Planning, Safety Concerns, Sensitive Conversations |

If your summer travel plans include a long-distance visit with aging parents, why not use the opportunity to do some “just in case” planning?  The relaxed pace of summer may offer a friendly environment in which to reflect and plan ahead. Also, being face-to-face may allow you to accomplish more than planning from a distance. Here are five tips for getting started, whether you are travelling across town or across the country!   1. Take note of warning signs that your parents may not be coping as well as before. Check for changes in these 4H’s: health, hygiene, housekeeping, and hazards around the house, as well as other areas where they are getting or needing more help. Share your observations about changes, but resist the immediate impulse to offer your solutions.  Listen and reflect before responding.   2. Start or continue conversations about sensitive subjects: framing these discussions as being of help to you may make them seem less intrusive to your parents. Also, give advance notice that you wish to talk about these topics. Allow everyone some opportunity to reflect and prepare when discussing important matters.   What are the “must-discuss” topics? Top of the list is whether your parents’ powers of attorney for finances and health careare in place or have been updated. Where are the other important documents that might be needed “if something happens”?   Finances may also be on your radar – a gentle conversation-opener can be asking whether there is anything you need to know about your parents’ finances as you do your own financial retirement planning.   Your parents’ living arrangements may be fine for now – but what happens if their health takes a sudden turn for the worse? A “health emergency plan”is a good tool for all families to have, but especially where families live hours apart.   Next, find out if your parents are familiar with seniors’ services in their community. Larger centres have dedicated seniors’ resource offices; in smaller communities, you may have to start with the local public health unit.   3. As a family, research and visit some nearby assisted living and long-term care homes. Everyone’s health may be good now, but things can change quickly. If a health crisis happens, and your parent cannot safely return to live at home, knowing which care homes they prefer can be a boon at times of illness and stress. Remember, these properties are for those who need medical oversight and personal care. You can explore other “downsizing” options, such as condos and retirement residences, too.   4. Get acquainted with your parents’ neighbors and the group of close friends who looks out for each other. Having a local contact can help ease your worries or check on parents’ well-being if you cannot contact them.   5. During this time, keep things in perspective. Manage your emotions and expectations. This type of forward planning is not an “all-business” project; rather, it’s a process that involves reflection, patience and building trust.   You can expect resistance to change, even denial, along the way. Emotions may consume more energy than performing the tasks at hand. You may have to deal with old relationship dynamics and alter some established behaviour patterns before you can move forward.     Taken all together, this tip list may seem daunting. But it’s still best to get started now, before a crisis happens. Take one step at a time, commit to the next step, and steadily build towards a solid plan for that “just in case” someday.   Get started or re-started this summer!   © ElderWise...

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Warning Signs Your Aging Parents Need Help

Posted by on Sep 8, 2021 in Health Signals |

When you first suspect that your aging parents may be experiencing health or mobility issues, it can come as a shock both to you and to them.  Knowing some warning signs and steps to take can help you all prepare to handle the changes that are coming.  Many seniors can still manage the activities of daily living with little or no assistance.  But advancing age can mean that some will need help with housekeeping, home maintenance, and transportation. Others may need more attention because of acute or chronic health problems. The PARENT acronym may help draw your attention to how your parents are functioning in their everyday lives. P  hysical. Do Mom or Dad still have enough energy for daily activities? Have you noticed any changes in their gait or balance? Weight loss? A  ppearance. In particular, notice hygiene. If Dad was always a sharp dresser, but his tie is now stained with soup, his vision could be affected - or he might be having more serious problems that need medical attention. R ambling.  People at any age can ramble in conversation. But if you notice that your mother is not making sense, or your dad loses track easily during a chat, it could be an early warning sign of depression, reaction to medications, or other serious disorders, such as dementia. E nvironment. When you visit, note whether the house is as clean or tidy as usual. Is there food in the fridge and cupboard?  This can mean they have poor nutrition or are ill, or are having trouble coping with housekeeping and cooking. N = eNgaged.  Are your parents still pursuing their favorite activities and attending church or social functions?  Or do you notice them withdrawing socially? If so, use this observation to open a conversation about their daily lives and what you both may be noticing.  T  ransportation. Are your parents able to get around easily? Are you seeing poor driving skills? If they are not driving, are public transport or other options available to get them where they want or need to go? Taking a drive with them gives you a chance to notice their reflexes, and how they handle parking and traffic in general. This is a sensitive topic, so you may want to seek advice on how to approach the subject. Adapted  from “Boomers and their aging parents” by Maureen Osis in Expert Women who Speak - Speak Out. (Vol.  3), 2003   Vol. 4, No. 8 © ElderWise Publishing 2008. You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO article, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement: Originally published by ElderWise, Canada’s go-to place for “age-smart” planning. Visit us at and subscribe to our FREE...

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Home Care for Canada’s Elderly

Posted by on Sep 8, 2021 in Caregiving, Health Care Team and System |

What is Home Care? Home care helps elderly people remain in their own homes, helps reduce hospital admissions, and may allow earlier discharge from hospitals. Home care is appropriate if you need help from registered nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and social workers, or if you need personal care provided by home health aides.   Who provides Home Care? Both public and private sectors offer home and community care services.  Public services are funded and managed by the local health authority. Eligibility depends on a professional’s assessment of your specific needs, your existing supports, and local community resources. Many people are surprised when they learn that public funding for home care is available for limited hours and only for very specific types of support.  That’s where private home care providers can help, with a variety of services, from personal care to visiting and companionship, from housekeeping to help with transportation.  Some are non-profit organizations; others are businesses. Expect variety in types of services offered, staff qualifications, and costs.  Seniors who want to stay in their home often mix different types of services, both public and private. When home care is no longer a viable option, you need to understand higher levels of care available for the elderly. Care homes, including assisted living and long term care, exist to serve different levels of care. Further reading: Long Term Care Planning Long Term Care Terminology  Understanding “Assisted Living” Vol.3, No.11 © ElderWise Inc. 2007-2011. You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO article, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement: Originally published by ElderWise Publishing, a division of ElderWise Inc. We provide clear, concise and practical direction to Canadians with aging parents. Visit us at and subscribe to our FREE e-newsletter.      ...

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Action for Common Aging Concerns

Posted by on Sep 7, 2021 in Caregiving, Health Signals, Planning |

In previous newsletters, we showed how you can approach sensitive topics during holiday visits with aging parents. During the visit you may have noticed new areas of concern, or old problems that are calling for action. Now, you may feel anxiety or uncertainty about what to do next. Taking that first step, no matter how small, creates momentum towards positive change. Here are some first steps for common concerns: 1. Health Changes in physical or mental health are usually at the root of all other challenges facing your aging parents.  Many factors combine to keep seniors healthy. Among the most important are good medical care, proper exercise and nutrition, and a sense of purpose and belonging. A good first step is to become more informed about your parent’s health. Educate yourself about normal aging, and learn more about their chronic health conditions. With your parents’ permission, talk with their family doctor about your concerns. 2. Hygiene Personal care may slip when a senior’s eyesight, physical energy, or state of mind are affected. First, gently point out some physical evidence (e.g., stained clothing) and share your concern. Encourage your parent to get a physical check-up and/or an eye exam.  3. Housekeeping Loss of strength or mobility can make household chores more difficult. Start a conversation about getting more help - either from other family members, or by hiring someone. Some seniors are reluctant to ask for help or to invite “strangers” into their homes. Suggest that help with household duties may mean that your parents stay in their own home a little longer. 4. Hazards Safety hazards at home increase when health and strength start to fail. Here are some simple adaptations that make life safer: rearrange cupboards to easily reach things, install grab bars in the bathroom, remove loose scatter rugs, and add brighter lighting, especially over stairways. You can also look into personal emergency response systems. Worn on the wrist or as a pendant, they enable your parent to call for emergency help when they cannot reach a telephone. Initiating some of these changes may require a “community” effort. That can mean recruiting help from other family members, friends, neighbours and/or getting outside help - private or public. In larger towns and cities, families can call on their local seniors’ resource centre for more information on support programs. In rural areas, churches and other members of the community traditionally step up to help neighbours. Concerned families can also ask for an assessment of the senior by their local health authority, to see whether their family member (who must consent to the assessment) qualifies for public assistance. Vol. 5, No. 1 © ElderWise Publishing 2009. You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO article, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement: Originally published by ElderWise, Canada’s go-to place for “age-smart” planning. Visit us at and subscribe to our FREE...

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